Los Angeles — Mass Equities, Inc., a private equity real estate investment firm based in Santa Monica, Calif., and AECOM Capital, the investment arm of AECOM, announced a new partnership for development of MEQ’s prominent 2017 property acquisition in Denver’s emerging River North (RiNo) Art District. The 7.8-acre site will be home to a Class A mixed-use development that reimagines an existing structure in combination with approximately 522,000 square feet of new construction that will both enhance and blend with the future growth of the neighborhood.

“We are pleased that AECOM Capital has joined us on this exciting project, demonstrating the significance of this development and the importance of RiNo in the overall Denver community,” said MEQ Founder Andrew (Drew) Sobel. “We look forward to a collaboration that will benefit from AECOM’s depth of knowledge, experience and global network of experts, to augment and inspire the outstanding MEQ team to accomplish a new kind of mixed-use development that will resonate in tune with RiNo’s dynamism,” he added.

“We are excited to bring a full suite of services to bear on this project, leveraging both AECOM’s established construction expertise and AECOM Capital’s design and development experience,” said Michael S. Burke, AECOM’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We are firm believers in Denver’s tremendous market potential given the city’s substantial and diverse growth in employment, and its booming millennial population. We look forward to partnering with MEQ to bring its incredible vision to life in RiNo.”

The dramatic transformation of this underutilized industrial property will be the largest to date in the rapidly evolving RiNo district submarket. The $200+ million first phase of the project will include repositioning of the existing 62,000-square-foot building located at 3060 Brighton Boulevard into a state-of-the-art creative office building, taking advantage of the soaring and dramatic ceiling heights and open space already existing in the building. In addition, and as part of the initial plan, MEQ and AECOM Capital expect to develop approximately 480 apartment units, approximately 64,000 square feet of new creative office space, and over 33,000 square feet of much-needed retail space in the otherwise retail-starved RiNo area along Brighton.

Led by Sobel and AECOM Capital Managing Director Ted Fentin, the RiNo development is the first joint MEQ and AECOM Capital project. AECOM will also serve as construction manager on the project through its AECOM Hunt business, in partnership with Denver-based Martines Palmeiro Construction (MPC). The value of the contract is expected to be included in AECOM’s backlog for its second quarter of fiscal year 2018.

With its artistic roots, and proximity to lower downtown and greater downtown Denver, RiNo is a truly unique neighborhood lending itself to MEQ’s vision of a carefully curated community filled with “passion, personalities and purpose.” The RiNo Art District started as a grassroots movement by local artists who wanted to connect the arts organizations in the area in a distinctive area of north Denver that includes four historical neighborhoods: Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points and Cole. The neighborhoods’ rapid growth has led to the creation of the Business Improvement District (BID) and General Improvement District (GID) to help local area merchants and residents.

“Across the country, neighborhoods that are undergoing gentrification have encountered various challenges. MEQ and AECOM have intelligently planned to address every aspect of the project and its interactions with the RiNo environment,” said Sobel. “We are confident that this exciting project will succeed on its own merits and will enhance the living fabric of this Art District,” he added.